Banking institutions and telecommunications services providers may breathe an air of relief as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has announced that the National Identification Number Verification Service (NVS) portal has been fully restored.
This was made known by NIMC’s head of corporate communications, Kayode Adegoke, in a statement made available to the press yesterday. According to Mr Adegoke, the NVS portal, which went down a few days ago due to maintenance by one of the Commission’s network service providers of its infrastructure (Galaxy Backbone Limited- GBB), has been fully restored.
“Consequently, customers and service providers can now take full advantage of the two verification platforms – Tokenization and NVS – which are both effective for verification and authentication of the National Identification Number”, he added.
Recall that Technext reported last week that reported that a huge number of mobile telecommunications subscribers across the country who have been seeking to retrieve their lost Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards or acquire new lines have been unable to do so owing to the unavailability of the portal.
Agencies such as the Nigerian Immigration Service, telcos and banks rely on the NVS service to verify the NIN of their customers before attending to them. NIMC, in response, explained that its NVS portal was temporarily unavailable due to maintenance by one of its network service providers.
NIMC provided a tokenisation alternative, the virtual NIN platform (vNIN) which was to serve as an option for citizens to use when digitally verifying their identity with an agent or enterprise. The Federal government introduced digital tokens as a replacement for the NIN slip in a bid to ensure the privacy of users’ personal information and to reduce incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN.
NIMC’s spokesperson, Adegoke explained that the vNIN is an easier alternative as it can be generated via the NIMC mobile app. It can also be generated via USSD (346*3*NIN*AgentCode# ).
The challenge with the tokenisation alternative, however, is that generating a digital NIN requires a user to actually have the National Identification Number (NIN). Hence, people who are yet to register for their NIN and thus cannot link the number to their sim cards. It has also been a cause for significant revenue loss for telcos as they cannot sell new sims while subscribers cannot retrieve lost or stolen lines.
This has evoked reactions from users across the social media space, mostly from telecommunications and banking services users who have been unable to access services.
Similarly, network service providers are groaning in pain. In an interview with TheCable Gbolahan Awonuga, head of operations, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said that “the tokenisation system for verifying subscribers had been very slow, and fraught with challenges”.
“It’s a slow process. There are some challenges. In some areas, it will work and in some, it doesn’t. The number of verification that’s supposed to be done is not what we are achieving”, he added.
NIMC says it won’t happen again
In its statement, NIMC expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their patience and promised to be innovative in its service to ensure quality delivery going forward. According to it:
“NIMC extends its profound gratitude to the general public and partners for their support during the NVS downtime and use of the tokenisation platform. The commission will continue to come up with innovative identity management solutions to enhance its capacity to deliver on its mandate.”
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